Retail brand validation for CNY: Matt's Memo
The aroma of fresh baked doughnuts preceded the arrival of the great Krispy Kreme franchise in Syracuse. For a year before it opened its doors on Erie Boulevard people would drive an hour plus west on the Thruway to buy the melt in your mouth delight in the Rochester suburbs. Charitable groups would bring them back to Central New York the by the dozens to raise money. Then, after all that anticipation Krispy Kreme arrived. Syracuse had made it on the map with one of the hottest franchises in America.
What is it about getting our taste of what every other community already has? Why do we desire the outsiders stamp of approval on our community? Do we hope for developers to locate a Cheesecake Factory, Costco or Target to give us validation that we measure up to other communities? Or do we truly believe the product or services offered at these nationally known entities will enhance our lives in a way a locally owned shop or restaurant cannot?
These questions arise in the run up to the arrival of Trader Joe's at the Raymour & Flanigan plaza on Erie Boulevard that also is home to Barnes and Noble. Raymour and Flanigan owns the real estate and attracted Trader Joe's to bring its unique "innovative, hard-to-find, great tasting foods" to Central New York.
Excitement often builds as the opening nears of a retail attraction like this one. Costco's construction is also underway in the Township 5 development in Camillus. Destiny USA has several examples of destination restaurants and stores that are the first of their kind in our area. The conjecture about the arrival of a new player in the game creates buzz at parties and on social media. We chat it up. We seem to attach an element of our collective self-esteem to the big name coming to town.
The downside of the arrival of brand's like this is a continued McDonaldization of society. We are creating a nation that once had great diversity and stripping it away. When we visit a new city or region we find comfort in familiarity instead of intrigue in something new and specific to that area.
By the way, do you know what happened with Krispy Kreme? That Erie Boulevard shop was going to be a central baking point for Krispy Kreme sales across the area. Unfortunately, it arrived in Syracuse along with the low carb diet craze and a few financial problems for the parent company. A short time after a sweet grand opening it was closing its doors. That validation disappeared. But, we're still doing fine.
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